February 07, 2005
Book of Evidence

Just finished: Book of Evidence, by John Banville. This guy can write:

Indeed, when I was young I saw myself as a masterbuilder who would one day assemble a marvellous edifice around myself, a kind of grand pavilion, airy and light, which would contain me utterly and yet wherein I would be free. Look, they would say, distinguishing this eminence from afar, look how sound it is, how solid: it's him all right, yes, no doubt about it, the man himself. Meantime, however, unhoused, I felt at once exposed and invisible. How shall I describe it, this sene of myself as something without weight, without moorings, a floating phantom? Other people seemed to have a density, a thereness, which I lacked. Among them, these big, carefree creatures, I was like a child among adults. I watched them, wide-eyed, wondering at their calm assurance in the face of a baffling and preposterous world. Don't mistake me, I was no wilting lily, I laughed and whooped and boated with the mest of them -- only inside, in that grim shadowed gallery I call my heart, I stood uneasily, with a hand to my mouth, silent, envious, uncertain.

John Banville, Book of Evidence, pp. 16-17.

Needless to say, highly recommended. (Oh, you want plot: it's the jailhouse confession of a destitute gentleman who has inexplicably - even to himself - stolen a painting and murdered a girl in the process.)

I wouldn't have picked up Banville without the encouragement of The Elegant Variations; he outlined some of the best places to start with Banville here.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at February 07, 2005 08:18 PM
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